Consumers may be eligible for compensation from wire transfer service

Kansas consumers who sent payments to scammers using Western Union’s wire transfer services may be eligible for compensation through a victim compensation fund that now is available, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The U.S. Department of Justice this week announced that eligible consumers may begin applying for compensation through a $586 million fund administered by DOJ’s Victim Asset Recovery Program. Kansas consumers who were a victim of a fraud-induced transfer using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, are eligible to file a claim.

The compensation fund is a result of agreements Western Union has entered into with Kansas and 49 other states and the District of Columbia, as well as the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission.

The company admitted to processing hundreds of thousands of fraudulent wire transfer transactions as part of scams including the “grandparent scam,” where a scammer poses as a family member in need of immediate financial help, or lottery scams and other schemes involving the promise of prizes or job opportunities.

In each of these scenarios, the scammer directed the victim to wire money through Western Union. The settlements stated that various Western Union agents were complicit in these schemes, including receiving a cut of the scam proceeds in exchange for processing the fraudulent transaction.

This week, the DOJ began notifying more than 500,000 potential victims who may be eligible for compensation. The notifications, sent by U.S. mail directly to potentially eligible persons, will include instructions for making a claim. Additional information on how to file a claim is available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org. The deadline to file a claim is Feb. 12, 2018.

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